Honeymoon help!

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Feb 20th, 2006, 02:25 AM
  #1
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Honeymoon help!

My fiance and I are thinking of going to South Africa on our honeymoon for two weeks over Christmas vacation. We love the idea of a Spafari with luxury accomodations. Any recommendations? Also, I've been doing some research and came across good reviews of Phinda Forest Lodge, which apparently is near the coast so we can get in some beach bumming as well! Any advice?
Thanks!
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Feb 20th, 2006, 03:41 AM
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Almost every lodge in the private reserves has a spa facility, so the choices are there. You'll need to do some research to match your needs & budget with all that is available. If you wait for a while many will come forward and recommend their preferred lodge.

The sabi sand has a riche diversity of luxurious lodges that are well suited to honeymoons and spafaring, my favourite is Selati Lodge, however the Spa experience is either at Eart or Bush, but knowing the overall flexibility of Sabi they will send a masuesse to your room if that is your desire. Otherwise stay at either of those alternate lodges.

As far as Phinda goes, yes it's in a great location, I stayed there nearly a decade ago and wasn't impressed with the game viewing, but it was just a rehabilitated farm then, so I sure things have improved by now. The architecture and ambience of the lodge though is quite something.

And last bit of advise: Book now, December & particularly over Xmas is prime time in SA.
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Feb 21st, 2006, 12:05 AM
  #3
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I appreciate the info!
I visited the website of Sabi Sabi and it looks amazing! I especially like the Earth lodge with the tree growing out of the wall as the bedboard.
Alternatively, can anyone else tell me if there is good game viewing at Phinda Lodge?
I've also been looking into lodges in Botswana, but the prices are astronomical! Yikes.
This will be our first time in Africa!
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Feb 21st, 2006, 12:55 AM
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Bridezilla,

You would be able to enjoy a very reasonably priced "spafari" at the following location:

www.islandsinafrica.com

Trust me, the website, at least compared to the color brochures that I have seen, do not do the lodges justice. I would suggest perhaps two nights at each Ntwala Island Lodge and Susuwe Island Lodge, followed by two nights at each Kwando Lagoon (a boat transfer from Susuwer Island Lodge) and two nights at Kwando Kwara.

If you time your trip correctly, you could actually fly from Cape Town to Maun and do something like this:

Cape Town (4)
Kwando Kwara (2)
Kwando Lebala (2)
Susuwe Island (2)
Ntwala Island (2)

While South Africa will be in high season and overrun with tourists, at least for your safari portion you would enjoy excellent pricing and avoid crowds.

For Cape Town, there are many properties that would be perfect for your honeymoon.

Another suggestion would be to consider extending your safari and save your beach bumming for another time. This would include skipping Cape Town which will be at its very busiest and most expensive.

You will probably not mind bumming it around your private plunge pools at Susuwe Island Lodge and Ntwala Island Lodge, which was just voted as one of the 50 most romantic lodges in the world by, I believe, Conde Nast Traveler (UK Edition).

Ntwala Island Lodge is very exclusive with only four rooms and you are provided with your own private boat and guide.

However, if you did want to stay in South Africa, and were open to a higher budget, some beautiful lodges to consider include the following:

Sabi Sabi - www.sabisabi.com
Leopard Hills - www.leopardhills.com
Camp Jabulani (Elephant Back Safaris) www.campjabulani.com

And for the ultimate luxury, widely recognized as the most luxurious lodge in all of Africa:

Singita www.singita.com

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. You could not have picked a better honeymoon destination.
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Feb 21st, 2006, 02:22 AM
  #5
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The Islands in Africa lodges look wonderful! And I like the fact that they have strong ties with the local community. It seems like a great, and more inexpensive, alternative to South Africa. However, if we could manage a few days of beaches in Cape Town, it might just be the perfect trip!

Man, just doing the research on this trip is fascinating. I want to learn more! And I can't wait to see it for myself!! I just hope I don't get all girly and scared at all the critters...
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Feb 21st, 2006, 05:18 AM
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One thing is certain: If you hit the bush in Southern Africa during December, there will be bugs. However don't let that discourage you, the rooms in the luxurious lodges are impeccable and well maintained. There is a high level of service and for those prices you can bet your bottom dollar that housekeeping will do all that is possible to keep your room free of "unpaying" guests.

Of the two options natal and Cape, I would encourage thye Cape for the coastal portion of your trip. If for no other reason than the colour of the beach-sand. The Capes beaches are a delightful white, whereas thos of KZN take on a brakish colour.

And if it is lounging out in the sunshine that you seek, I would encourage you to look up the coast from Cape Town, which is a melee of people at that time of the year. Look into little heard of destinations asuch as Natures Valley or Cape St Francis, which have some great B&B's and IMO the most beautiful and desoltae beaches of the western Cape. BTW. Both can be accessed by air using Plet, George or Poprt Elizabeth as arrival points.
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Feb 21st, 2006, 01:16 PM
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Hello,

Phinda is a wonderful reserve with great game-viewing -- going there now, you'd never believe it used to be derelict farm land. Cheetah viewing is particularly good, and there is an unsually wide range of activities, including a 'diving safari' off the coast. It will be very warm when you are there around Christmas, so a diving safari might be just the thing!

My favourite Phinda option is Vlei Lodge, though I also like Forest Lodge.

Cheers,
Julian
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 01:26 AM
  #8
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Thank you all for your input.
In doing more research I came across rave reviews of Thanda Private Game Reserve, which also offers beach activities close by. The honeymoon package they offer is out of this world! Any advice?
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 02:18 AM
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Hi

My wife and I had a very nice trip to a place called Djuma Vuyatela in December 2004. When we arrived at the place there was a sparkling wine waiting for us by the bed and we had our own little plunge in pool I have posted a trip report with some pictures on my homepage http://gardkarlsen.com/djuma_vuyatela_safari.htm . Maybe you can find some useful information there.

regards
Gard
Stavanger, Norway
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
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Mar 10th, 2006, 09:43 AM
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Hi Bridezilla,

We went to SA for our honeymoon two years ago, and you're making me yearn to go back!

We were there late October, early November. We specifically planned our safari activities for KZN so we could also beach bum around the Dolphin coast and St. Lucia, as you seem to be considering. However, while the beaches, particularly along Cape Vidal, were beautiful (white sand, torquoise water), the ocean was very, very rough the entire two weeks we were in the area. We still had an amazing time, just hiking along the beaches, touring the Valley of 1000 Hills, taking quick wave-battering swims - we didn't get in the snorkeling we were hoping to, and it wasn't really a tranquil, tropical setting per se.

We also spent a fair amount of time around the Cape, and while I actually didn't think the beaches were as pretty there, they did seem to be calmer.

Of course, all of this is completely dependent upon time of year and current conditions, I'm sure but based on our experiences, I'd advise you to pick whichever game lodge suits you best independent of how close to the beach it is.

You're going to have an amazing time!! We loved every single minute of our trip!! Cheers, Carrie
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